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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Paul McBride QC - Absurd Election Broadcast

Saw a party election broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party this evening which featured superstar criminal advocate Paul McBride QC. He was on there following his well publicised defection to the Tories, complaining that criminals often only serve half the sentence they receive, and advocating (!) that those convicted should serve the full sentence they are given.

Which is absurd.

As I may have mentioned before, I've never done a day's criminal law in my life, but I'm pretty sure that the Judges of our country do understand how this works. It's not as if this is some big secret which is subverting the wisdom of the judiciary. If a Judge wants someone to stay behind bars for 2 years, then they will sentence the criminal for 4. The maths is not that hard.

Fair enough, your policy may be that you want criminals to spend more time in jail. But even then, setting a rule that you serve your full sentence has only one real effect, which is to rob the prison service of the ability to keep badly behaved prisoners in jail longer than those who have knuckled down, learned their lesson and generally paid their debts to society.

Which is absurd.

But just to keep Mr. McBride happy, the next case he's defending, the Judge should send the accused down for twice as long as normal. He'd consider anything else to be a disgrace.

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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Journal Web Review (Apr 10) Tax Law

" They say that tax doesn't have to be taxing, but I'll confess it taxes my brain. I remember I just about got to grips with VAT and inheritance tax, but after that it's all a bit of a blur... Maybe the internet can help? "

So begins my most recent web review for the Journal, entitled "Totally Tax" - which looks at tax law resources - plus the Robin Hood Tax website.

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Monday, 19 April 2010

Scottish Legal Complaints Commission: levy under attack

" While some eyebrows may be raised at a publicly funded body generating [a £1.5 Million] surplus in its first year of operation, the Government cannot be allowed to interfere with its internal decisions. The [Scottish Legal Complaints Commission] is accountable to Parliament, not to Ministers. "

So says my latest solicitors blog, which is called Complaints Commission complains.

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Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Splitting up is hard to do

The SPL split is causing even more controversy this year than last and Motherwell FC are contemplating legal action, according to sports broadcaster ESPN. The site states: "Motherwell ... are ready to launch a legal appeal after they were handed a third away match to Celtic in the post split games. Fir Park chairman John Boyle is fuming as his club will end up playing 20 away matches and 18 home fixtures this season."

Meanwhile, an official statement from the board on the club's own website states merely that "All avenues of protest will be considered."

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Don't wanna be an American idiot

I noticed this very funny exchange on Yahoo! Answers...

Kerian asks "I live in scotland have a degree on law and wont move to the usa? would be able become lawyer how would i get there would this be easy etc."

Responses included:

  • "You'd need to learn how to spell & punctuate properly first." (Powdered Toast Man)
  • "What kind of lawyer are you, who cannot ask a simple question?" (GEORGE B)
  • "Legal immigration makes the world go round, and you will be welcomed here." (misswrite1)
  • "No we have enough greedy lawyers over here as it is;" (Michael)

Nice. For what it's worth, Kerian, I'd recommend an aeroplane. Unless you really do mean you won't move to the usa, in which case, probably just stay here then.

LOL, as I believe the kids are saying these days.


Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Illegal campaigning hits Scotland

A fascinating article in the Scotsman on election law. Believe it or not, but the amounts which can be spent on campaigning are tightly controlled (much more so than in other countries).

However, notwithstanding these rules, we have already received illegal anonymous election communications in our constituency, and I'm told that the police are investigating.

Finally, I ran some figures through the BBC's election seat calculator, just to give an indication of how fair the voting system isn't. What, I wondered, would be the result if each party received 33.3% of the vote? It turns out that Labour would get 316 MPs, Conservative would get 209 MPs and Lib Dems only 101 MPs. Nice.


Secret Tram Costs Dispute

I tread carefully into the murky waters that are the City of Edinburgh's tram project disputes with this month's blog post: "Edinburgh tram project costs dispute".

It occurs to me that the resultant road works have so slowed the traffic in and around Edinburgh anyway, that when the trams finally arrive the impression of a much improved transit in the capital will be pretty much automatic.

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